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Report: J.C. Penney in talks for $500 million loan

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New YorkThe Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that J.C. Penney is now in talks with Wells Fargo and at least two other investment firms, seeking a $500 million loan to shore up the beleaguered retailer’s cash reserves.

Citing unidentified sources, WSJ said that Penney is also in talks with private-equity firm TPG and with investment company Gordon Brothers, along with Wells Fargo, as Penney casts a wider net to stay afloat.

The $500 million loan, according to WSJ’s sources, would come due in five years and be backed by Penney’s inventory, accounts receivable and intellectual property.

While Penney nor the financial companies have commented on the discussions, the sources said that the talks are currently active and a deal could be reached within days.

Penney had announced earlier in the week that it borrowed $850 million from its $1.85 billion revolving credit facility.

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RadioShack expands senior management team

BY CSA STAFF

FORT WORTH — RadioShack has named Jennifer Warren as its new SVP and CMO, and Michael DeFazio as its new SVP of store concepts.

Warren’s responsibilities will include leading all aspects of RadioShack’s brand strategy, advertising, corporate communications, social media and online customer experience. She has experience developing strategy and building top-tier brands in the retail and mobile categories, including Samsung, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Zales, World Market, Land Rover, Charles Schwab, Kinko’s, Dell, Chili’s and Hallmark. Her experience includes leadership roles with agencies Razorfish, GSD&M and T-3.

"We are delighted to welcome Jennifer to the RadioShack team," said Joe Magnacca, CEO. "She joins us at an exciting and critical time in RadioShack’s history, as we set the stage for our stores’ and the brand’s evolution and growth. Jennifer has a proven track record of transforming brands from the inside out, by aligning with its purpose to create a compelling, meaningful and fun experience for consumers. This fits exactly with what our near-term plans are for RadioShack."

DeFazio’s responsibilities include the conceptualization, design, development and implementation of a new shopping experience for RadioShack consumers. He has more than 36 years of retail experience, including 30 years in store operations and merchandising. During the last six years, he led the transformation of store concepts for two retailers as both companies moved to become health and daily living destinations. During his tenure with Walgreens from 2011 to 2013, DeFazio established the Walgreens Well Experience store and all flagship stores for the company.

"I have worked with Mike since 2008, and know that he has a unique ability to reinvent the shopping experience from the outside in," said Magnacca. "He starts from the consumer perspective, and combines his experience as an operator and merchandiser with his talents as a visual and experiential designer to deliver an exciting, compelling and fun shopping experience to the store. Mike has been with the company only a few weeks, and he already has begun work on the transformation of our stores. We will be unveiling these new store prototypes over the next several months.”

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Predictix appoints new EVP and chief scientist

BY CSA STAFF

ATLANTA — Supply chain solutions company Predictix has appointed Ronald P. Menich, Ph.D., as its new EVP and chief scientist.

Predictix provides retailers and brands with platforms and tools that enable them to drive competitive advantage and market differentiation.

Menich is one of the foremost innovators in predictive analytics for Fortune 500 enterprises. He previously served as chief scientist of pricing and revenue management at JDA, where he was the conceptual designer of many of the core modules in JDA’s pricing and revenue management suite.

Menich has 18 years of experience in demand forecasting, optimization and large-scale recommendation processing systems. He has experience leading a science team and designing advanced software solutions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master’s degree in operations research and a doctoral degree in industrial and systems engineering, the latter two from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"I’m thrilled at the opportunity to lead the highly talented science team at Predictix," said Menich. "Predictix’ unique approach to predictive analytics, Big Data and cloud-based architecture makes it one of the most exciting and dynamic providers of planning, merchandising and supply chain solutions today. Predictix is fully committed to its next-generation retail science platform, and I am looking forward to working with our team and top-tier retail customers."

Predictix also announced that Loren Williams, former Predictix EVP and chief scientist, is joining Ernst & Young LLP as executive director, advisory services practice, where he will fulfill a longtime goal to move into a consulting role in E&Y’s Analytics Center of Excellence.

Menich’s appointment ensures a seamless transition in the leadership of Predictix’s science team. “Ron and I worked closely together at Aeronomics, Talus Solutions and Manugistics,” said Williams. "I’ve known him for many years, and he is the ideal person to bring on board at Predictix as my replacement. Ron has an impeccable track record in solving complex business problems, and I have complete faith in his ability to lead the Predictix science team."

"Ron Menich is an extraordinarily gifted scientist and leader, and Predictix is excited to welcome him to our executive team," said John Simon, CEO, Predictix. “I look forward to seeing Ron continue to lead the development of our world-leading science capabilities for the benefit of our customers.”

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